Family Force 5 – Dance or Die With A Vengeance
Record Label: Transparent Media Group
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Family Force 5 ooze catchy, synth-covered dance treats. Yum. Part of FF5's charm is a dynamic that pieces together different sounds to create infectious songs unique to the electropop genre; when you hear one of their songs, it would be hard to confuse it with, say, a 3OH!3 song. And speaking of 3OH!3, they're one of the 13 artists contributing their remix skills (or lack thereof) to "Dance or Die With a Vengeance," a remix album of songs featured on the band's 2008 sophomore album "Dance or Die."
Remixes usually breathe life back into an overplayed song: beats vary slightly, guest vocals are added and the songs burst with synthesizer and back beats. Family Force 5 songs, though, already sound like dance remixes, and too much remixing gives the first half of the album a stripped, monotonous feel.
The first half of Dance or Die With a Vengeance, however, doesn’t even resemble the second half. On one hand, this may indicate a musical identity crisis. But on the other hand, the newfound genre diversity that meanders through the fourteen tracks may represent a flexing of unused music muscles.
The album opens with the fan favorite title track “Dance or Die,” remixed by The Secret Handshake. The remix doesn’t throw out too many flashy sound effects and still conveys a smooth, energetic urgency to, well, dance.
3OH!3, the band who should be most trusted with Family Force 5’s songs, does a good job by adding a little layering to “Get Your Back off the Wall.” It’s not just a fist-pumping remix, but something that brings a touch of hardcore to FF5’s dance pop.
Toxic Avenger, however, really screws up the beauty of “Fever.” The song sounds like a verbal strobe light, the kind that would trigger an epileptic seizure. Plus, the constant, one-note synth sound throughout the majority of the song is akin to someone running their nails over a chalkboard.
The album takes a turn for the better by the eighth track, “Share It With You,” remixed by Smile Future. The lyrical content finally veers away from dancing to something of more substance (“You’ve already broken by heart./I’d like to keep at least one piece.”).
FF5 channel their inner Green Day with Jasen Rauch’s punkish remix of “Radiator,” as well as their inner T-Pain with rap tracks like “Ghostride the Whip.”
“Dance or Die With a Vengeance” may be a way for Family Force 5 to bide time before they release a totally new album, or they may have just been looking for a way to make a “Die Hard” reference. Either way, the album pumps life into old songs, while expanding the band’s musical range.